Objectives: To establish the prevalence of tooth erosion in a representative sample of 12-year-old children in Leicestershire and Rutland. To determine if gender, ethnic group, deprivation or caries experience influences the prevalence of erosion.
Methods: A random sample of 1,753 12-year-olds resident in Leicestershire and Rutland were examined in 62 schools; 906 were boys and 847 girls; 1,379 were Caucasian and 316 Asian. Tooth erosion was assessed using the index employed in the survey of Children's Dental Health in England and Wales (1993). The Townsend index was used to record deprivation.
Results: Tooth erosion was found in 59.7% of the children, with 2.7% exhibiting exposed dentine. Significantly more boys than girls; Caucasian than Asian children; and those with caries experience, had erosion present (chi-square for all P<0.01). Overall no significant difference was found between deprivation categories, however socio-economically advantaged Caucasian children had significantly less tooth erosion than other groups.
Conclusions: There was a high prevalence of tooth erosion in 12-year-old children. Significantly more erosion occurred in boys than girls, and culture appeared to influence prevalence. Children with caries experience had a higher prevalence of erosion than those without caries, which may reflect a lower level of dietary care. Deprivation seemed to affect the prevalence of tooth erosion in Caucasian children.